How DC Crossovers Inspired The Boys' 'Herogasm'
Note: This article contains no spoilers for The Boys season 3, episode 6 (mainly because we wrote it before that aired).
The people behind The Boys have spent a long time hyping up this week's episode, "Herogasm," which, as the name subtly implies, involves superheroes having superhuman amounts of supersex. The episode has been promoted via comically long content warnings, promotional clips of the show's stars sounding slightly traumatized, and an official Twitter hashtag that, sadly, wasn't allowed to display an eggplant with a cape as its official emoji. They've actually been (c***)teasing this episode since last year when showrunner Eric Kripke posted his shocked reaction to something in the first production meeting:
(We zoomed in on his glasses, and he appears to be looking at the Etsy page for entry #3 in this article.)
But the history of "Herogasm" goes back way further than that. The episode is based on the 2009 miniseries of the same name that was published as a tie-in to The Boys' original comic book incarnation, but the roots of the idea go back to the '90s when series writer/co-creator Garth Ennis was working at DC Comics (which, we'll remind you, published the first issues of The Boys before noping out of there). While Ennis' comics weren't your typical DC superhero stories, they still technically took place within the DC Universe, which meant that every once in a while, he had to acknowledge those big crossover events in which all the heroes get together to save the planet or the universe or whatever.
Ennis made his opinion on these events pretty clear in an issue of his series Hitman in which the protagonists (a lovable gang of hired killers) try to keep track of the many world-ending crises they've been through in just a few years ...
In fact, these things happen so often that they barely even register for them anymore.
Well, the idea for "Herogasm" was to show what actually happened during those annual superhero get-togethers: a whole lot of superhero screwin'. They're not saving the world; that's just the cover story. The Herogasm miniseries was even drawn by John McCrea, the same artist from the scene above, and all of the crossover issues Ennis had to write for DC in the '90s. In a 2009 interview, Ennis talked about finding those crossovers "depressing" and how the last he wanted to do was one of those Batman stories "where Gotham City would be torn to pieces only to end up completely unchanged, with a plague or whatever causing instantly forgettable havoc."
Ennis did acknowledge that DC usually let him do his own thing, like in the issue where the characters spend a whole week holed up in a bar while Superman and the Wonder Twins and all the rest fight a sun-eating monster. Of course, turns out they were probably just having a big space orgy with it. Anyway, happy Herogasm to those who celebrate! Remember to be safe.
Top image: Amazon Studios, DC Comics